My article defending dogs from a cruel and racist claim made by University of California Riverside Professor Katja Guenther in her new book that treating them as family perpetuates whiteness and oppresses people of color is the second most read article in Areo Magazine so far this year with over 20,000 readers.
In her book, Guenther argues that treating animals as family and showing them affection are “white” values, while treating animals “as resources, whether protective (as in guarding) or financial (as in breeding or possibly fighting)” are part of the culture of people of color. She claims that rescuers who want dogs to be adopted to “those who will treat their dog as a family member” and will “care for their dog” are using dogs “as instruments for reproducing whiteness.”
As I argued in my piece, the premise is not only factually incorrect, it embraces racist stereotypes, and puts dogs at risk.
Instead of challenging my arguments, Guenther responded by attacking the messenger, arguing that she is the subject of a campaign against her by the “Alt-Right.” Although she does not mention me by name, the timing of her claim — coming on the heels of my article and a series of Facebook posts about it — suggests that she is referring to me.
Not only is name calling a logical fallacy, unbecoming of a university professor; but — to quote Mr. Spock — “Reverting to name calling suggests you are defensive and therefore you find my opinion valid.”
Moreover, I am hardly “Alt-Right,” having voted for President Biden and encouraging others to do the same Moreover, like my condemnation of Guenther’s anti-dog views, I have likewise condemned the National Rifle Association for throwing dogs under the bus. The NRA is blocking a vote on SB 650 to ban the perpetual chaining of dogs in Florida because hunting dogs spend much of their lives on the end of one.
Treating dogs as family is neither a race issue, nor a political one. People of all walks of life want to build a better world for them. But standing in the way of that are extremists on both ends of the spectrum — the NRA on the Right and, on the Left, critical race theorists like Guenther.
And those of us in the middle, who still believe in Enlightenment values — including the unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — should stand firm regardless of the political party the person advocating harm to dogs identifies with.
When it comes to dogs, I’m neither a Democrat, independent, nor a Republican. I am a human. And as a member of the most resourceful species on Earth, I have an obligation to use my intellect and abilities to lend a helping hand whenever and to whomever I can. When that help includes other creatures on Earth who cannot help themselves — who are in fact completely dependent on us for their health, happiness, and safety — the debt of kindness and consideration we humans owe should be immediately apparent.
It is for me.
My article, Critical Race Theory is Coming for the Dogs, is here.
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